Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Despair - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

A yellow fog had come,
its colour reminiscent of
sweet cotton candy.
Its tiny droplets soothing
his burning skin
and hiding from his view
two crumbling walls of stone
that leaned and threatened
his lightly chosen path.

Willing numb feet he raised,
defiantly, his chin.
Outlandish was his need
to overcome
and to insist
on odds, belonging to
a road unknown,
but, home sweet home
for him, the different drummer.

He could not see the obstacle.
His eyes had focussed on
a single tree,
far in the distance and
bathed in golden rays.
He heard the echo of the bell
and felt the universe,
its beckoning.
Yet in the inner sanctum of his ear
the urgency of voices swelled,
at last to the crescendo
of a dissonance of village choirs,
breaking through heavy armour,
then to cling and not let go
of what his angels had ordained.

It was the fork, of course,
so dark.
A thousand flickers dancing,
he knew about the glow worms
of a lonely youth,
how they had always
rung in the night,
as fear of darkness was their game,
and lure of Heaven's promises,
his destiny well within reach.

The moon had gone again.
Strange and familiar groans,
old branches bragging skills
to brash, pubescent twigs,
convincing owls and possums
to choose wisely in their night.
Blind as he was
no choice would dare
and come his way.
He hurried on with anxious eyes
and legs of sheer uncertainty
straight down the silent path
until his lungs could only scream,
his breath a blazing fire.
The sparks of hope had been,
in just a blink of desperation,
extinguished as they'd gone
around the sudden, cruel bend
of chosen forest road.

And, the collision had to come
it snapped his spine in two,
cold, bony fingers ripped his heart
out of its cavity within,
and left a soul behind,
dependent on the spirit that each man
keeps well inside his own cocoon,
once woven with the Heavens' diligence
now softly swaying in the winds of fear.
And like a fly destined to die
great fireworks of chaos could be heard
and seen for countless miles.

As all seemed lost in time and endless space
the clouds made room again,
a yellow moon bestowed
a different panoramic shine
upon the scene of mayhem and despair.
As if a heavenly command had come
a sudden pulse of cosmic energy
transcends and lands within
the great tristesse,
as countless critters congregate with ease
with friend and foe each side by furry side.
And birds swoop in from sheer curiosity,
the forest comes alive again, in rituals of life
essential part of Mother Earth tradition.
A holy breath is felt inside
and fills his chest with joy,
as apathy must yield at once,
and, through the pulse of immortality
life is renewed, it opens precious petals
proudly erect, its hopeful eyes toward the sun,
uniting inborn melancholy of the soul
with human spirit, all within the heart.

The fog has now come back into the forest,
but he can clearly see a thousand steps
a cotton candy glow,
left there, among the needles, illuminated
two sets of footprints, side by side.
He sees it all, astonished eyes alight,
at last he knows who walks with him
through valleys of the shadows and of fear.

Comments about Despair by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (5/5/2006 3:34:00 AM)

    Well, that was a dark and haunting journey, Herbs, but thanks for giving us the light of hope at the end.
    Powerfully and richly worded.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, May 5, 2006

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